Germantown is a neighborhood in the northwest section of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, about 7–8 miles northwest from the center of the city. The neighborhood is rich in historic sites and buildings from the colonial era, a few of which are open to the public.
Germantown stretches for about two miles along Germantown Avenue northwest from Windrim and Roberts Avenues. The boundaries of Germantown borough at the time it was absorbed into the city of Philadelphia were Wissahickon Avenue, Roberts Avenue, Wister Street, Stenton Avenue and Washington Lane. Today, the next neighborhood to the northwest, Mount Airy, starts around Johnson Street, although there is no universally recognized exact boundary. Nicetown lies to the south and Logan, Ogontz, and West Oak Lane lie to the east.
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Germantown was founded by German settlers, thirteen Quaker and Mennonite families from Krefeld (Germany), in 1681. Today the founding day of Germantown on October 6, 1683, is remembered as German-American Day, a holiday in the United States, observed annually on October 6. On August 12, 1689, William Penn at London signed a charter constituting some of the inhabitants a corporation by the name of "the bailiff, burgesses and commonalty of Germantown, in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania." Francis Daniel Pastorius was the first bailiff. Jacob Telner, Derick Isacks op den Graeff and his brother Abraham Isacks op den Graeff, Reynier Tyson, and Tennis Coender were burgesses, besides six committeemen. They had authority to hold "the general court of the corporation of Germantowne", to make laws for the government of the settlement, and to hold a court of record. This court went into operation in 1690, and continued its services for sixteen years. Sometimes, to distinguish Germantown from the upper portion of German township, outside the borough, the township portion was called Upper Germantown.
In 1688, five years after its founding, Germantown became the birthplace of the anti-slavery movement in America. Pastorius, Gerret Hendericks, Derick Updegraeff and Abraham Updengraef gathered at Thones Kunders's house and wrote a two-page condemnation of slavery and sent it to the governing bodies of their Quaker church, the Society of Friends. The petition was mainly based upon the Bible's Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Though the Quaker establishment took no immediate action, the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, was a clear and forceful argument against slavery and initiated the process of banning slavery in the Society of Friends (1776) and Pennsylvania (1780).
When Philadelphia was occupied by the British during the American Revolutionary War, British units were housed in Germantown. In the Battle of Germantown, in 1777, the Continental Army attacked this garrison. During the battle, a party of citizens fired on the British troops, as they marched up the avenue, and mortally wounded British Brigadier General Agnew. The Americans withdrew after firing on one another in the confusion of the battle, leading to the determination that the battle resulted in a defeat of the Americans. However, the battle is sometimes considered a victory by Americans. The American loss was 673 and the British loss was 575, but along with the Army's success under Brigadier General Horatio Gates at Saratoga on October 17 when John Burgoyne surrendered, the battle led to the official recognition of the Americans by France, which formed an alliance with the Americans afterward.
During his presidency, George Washington and his family lodged at the Deshler-Morris House in Germantown to escape the city and the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. The first bank of the United States was also located here during his administration.
Germantown proper, and the adjacent German Township, were incorporated into the City of Philadelphia in 1854 by the Act of Consolidation.
Bright April, a 1946 book written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli, features scenes of Germantown of the 1940s while addressing the divisive issue of racial prejudice experienced by African Americans, a daring topic for a children's book of that time.
Between 1954 and 1956 Germantown experienced an influx of African Americans, resulting in a decline in property values and triggering a "white flight" of the majority of white residents to the suburbs.
Eugene Stackhouse, a retired former president of the Germantown Historical Society says that the transition of Germantown into a more diverse and ethnic neighborhood was the result of the now illegal practice of blockbusting. "It was a great disgrace. Cheap houses would be sold to a black family, then the realtors would go around and tell the neighbors that the blacks are invading," said Stackhouse.
The current demography of Germantown reflects this shift. As of the 2010 US Census, Germantown is 77.2% black and 15.2% white, 3.2% non-white Hispanic, and 1.5% Asian.
Primary and secondary schools 
Germantown is the location of the private Quaker schools Germantown Friends School, Greene Street Friends School, and The William Penn Charter School, the oldest Quaker school in the world. The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf occupies the former site of Germantown Academy, which moved to Fort Washington, Pennsylvania in 1965.
Public libraries 
Free Library of Philadelphia operates public libraries. The Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library is located in Germantown. The library was given its current name in 2002, after Joseph E. Coleman, a member of the Philadelphia City Council.
Historic sites 
National Historic Landmark Districts 
National Historic Districts 
National Historic Landmarks 
- Cliveden, the estate of Benjamin Chew, an important site during the Battle of Germantown
- Germantown Cricket Club
- John Johnson House, a site on the Underground Railroad
- Charles Willson Peale House
- Wyck House
National Register of Historic Places 
Other sites listed separately on the NRHP:
- Alden Park Manor
- Beggarstown School
- Conyngham-Hacker House
- Delmar Apartments
- Deshler-Morris House
- Fitler School
- Germantown Grammar School
- Howell House
- Loudoun Mansion
- Ebenezer Maxwell House
- Mayfair House
- Thomas Meehan School
- Mennonite Meetinghouse
- Charles Schaeffer School
- Grumblethorpe Tenant House
- St. Peter's Episcopal Church of Germantown
- William C. Sharpless House
- Smyser and English Pharmacy
- Sally Watson House
- Wyck House
- YMCA of Germantown
Other historic sites 
- Barron House
- Concord School House
- Gilbert Stuart Studio
- Green Tree Tavern (Germantown)
- Lower Burial Ground (Hood Cemetery)
- The Connie Mack House
- The Upper Burial Ground
- Vernon Park
Notable residents 
- Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), born in Germantown, noted author of the Little Women series of books
- James Barron, naval hero
- Elaine Brown, Black Panther Party leader
- Martin Grove Brumbaugh, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1914–1919
- Charlotte Wardle Cardeza (née Drake), Titanic passenger
- Benjamin Chew, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania
- Walter Leighton Clark, American businessman, inventor, and artist
- Bill Cosby, entertainer
- Charles Darrow, inventor of the Monopoly game
- Ira Einhorn, aka "the Unicorn Killer", a convicted murderer and former environmental advocate
- Isaac Franks, colonel, soldier in the American Revolutionary War
- Eve Jihan Jeffers, entertainer
- Henry Gibson, actor
- Nelson Graves, Philadelphian cricketer died in Germantown in 1918
- Albert M. Greenfield, businessman, political activist, philanthropist; lived in Germantown 1920s-1930s
- Rufus Harley, jazz musician
- Bernard Hopkins, professional boxer
- Adam Kuhn, physician, professor, botonist
- Maggie Kuhn, activist, founder of the Gray Panthers
- George Landenberger, 23rd Governor of American Samoa
- George Lippard, 19th-century novelist, journalist, playwright, social activist, labor organizer
- Eric Lobron, German chess champion of American descent
- James Logan, statesman
- G. Love, born Garrett Dutton III, front man of the musical band G. Love and Special Sauce
- Connie Mack, winningest manager in Major League baseball history
- J. Howard Marshall, wealthy magnate and former husband of the late Anna Nicole Smith
- Jimmy McGriff, jazz musician
- Robert L. McNeil, Jr. (1915–2010), developer of Tylenol and chairman of McNeil Laboratories
- George T. Morgan, former chief engraver at the United States Mint
- William Jackson Palmer founder of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Francis Daniel Pastorius, leader of Germantown settlement
- Sun Ra, surrealist and musician
- Edmund Randolph, the first United States Attorney General
- Theodore William Richards, recipient of 1914 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- David Rittenhouse, astronomer, mathematician, first director of the United States Mint
- Owen J. Roberts, Supreme Court Justice
- Charley Ross, four-year-old kidnapping victim in 1874
- Francis Schaeffer, theologian, especially influential as an Apologist
- Ron Sider, founder, Evangelicals for Social Action
- Patti Smith, artist
- Christopher Sower, printed the first German-language Bible in America
- Gilbert Stuart, portrait artist
- Frederick Winslow Taylor, engineer, management theorist, and consultant
- Meldrick Taylor, professional boxer
- Bill Tilden, tennis player
- George Washington, first president of the United States. Lived in Germantown briefly at the Deshler-Morris House.
- Grover Washington, Jr., saxophonist
- John Wister, wealthy merchant, Civil War ironmaster
- Owen Wister, author
- Thompkins, Russell, Jr., song writer of R&B Group The Stylistics
- Love, Airrion, R&B Legends, The Stylistics
- Dunn, James, R&B Legends, The Stylistics
See also 
- Reuters: German American Day 2008
- The Library of Congress: Chronology 'The Germans in America'
- Countryman, Michael (2006). Up South. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 72.
- Anna Berezowska and Genevieve LeMay (February 4, 2011). "Germantown: A Town Of Its Own". Philadelphia Neighborhoods.
- "A City Transformed The Racial and Ethnic Changes in Philadelphia Over the Last 20 Years". Philadelphia Research Initiative. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Mastery volunteers spend Columbus Day Beautifying Pickett." Mastery Charter Schools. October 10, 2008. Retrieved on September 10, 2012.
- "Pickett Campus : About." Mastery Charter Schools. Retrieved on September 10, 2012. "Our Location 5700 Wayne Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19144"
- "Contact Us." Mastery Charter Schools. Retrieved on September 10, 2012. "Address: 5700 Wayne Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144"
- "Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 19, 2012.
- NRHP Focus[dead link]
- National Park Service
- National Historic Landmarks
- Wyck House
- Hood Cemetery
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- Purcell, L. Edward. (1993). Who Was Who in the American Revolution. New York: Facts on File, Inc.
- "New Digital Project to Focus on Great Depression". Albert M. Greenfield Center for 20th-Century History. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
- Singer, Natasha. "Robert L. McNeil Jr., Chemist Who Introduced Tylenol, Dies at 94", The New York Times, June 3, 2010. Accessed June 4, 2010.
- Web pages Describing Historic Germantown
- Art by Joseph Ropes (1812–1885), Scene in Germantown, Pa., 1874
- Art by Anna Peale Sellers (1824–1905), Belfield Farm (near Germantown)
- Art by William Britton, Market Square, Germantown, c. 1820
- Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation
- East Germantown Blight Certification, City Planning Commission, 2003
- Phillyhistory.org, Historic Photographs of Philadelphia, City Archives
- Germantown Historical Society
- A small collection of Germantown general court records, which cover the years from 1691 to 1701 and include information on disputes related to land, apprenticeships, sales of goods, personal matters, and other issues, is available for research use at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- G-town Radio: The Sound from Germantown, G-town Radio is an internet radio station located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. The website says, "Our mission is to become an outlet for local content, community news and great music."
- Chronology of the Political Subdivisions of the County of Philadelphia, 1683–1854
- Information courtesy of ushistory.org
- Incorporated District, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia, 1854 By Rudolph J. Walther – excerpted from the book at the ushistory.org website